President Barker: Visitors Will See Clemson’s Distinctiveness

President Barker: Visitors Will See Clemson’s Distinctiveness

Aug. 30, 2005

This past February President Barker established a Sportsmanship Task Force, co-chaired by Vice President of Student Affairs Almeda Jacks, and Athletic Director Terry Don Phillips.

It’s only appropriate that Texas A&M is our first opponent and also an opportunity to implement the public phase of the Sportsmanship Initiative. The President’s Task Force on Sportsmanship was charged with looking for ways to examine that which happens at athletic events, on the field, in the stands, in our parking lots – reflects positively on the University.

Attached you will find a letter from President Barker, which will appear on the front cover of this week’s edition of The Orange & White. We need to engage the larger Clemson community in creating an environment that respects the values and traditions of Clemson. It’s up to all of us to make sportsmanship a core value of Clemson.

Dear Clemson,

One of the goals for our future states that we should “recognize and appreciate Clemson’s distinctiveness.” In considering the importance of this goal, I have concluded that our best path to the Top 20 is to build on our distinctive qualities and avoid trying to be similar to other schools.

There are many qualities that make Clemson distinctive, including our traditions, our mission, our college town environment, our location on the shores of Lake Hartwell, our size, our relationships between students, faculty and staff, our history, our governance, and our campus environment. I have grown to value these qualities the more I visit other campuses in the Atlantic Coast Conference and across the country. They make up our personality and character as a University.

One of these qualities may appear simplistic on the surface, but in comparison to other campuses, I believe it has real value. It has to do with the way we treat visitors to the Clemson campus. We have a well-deserved reputation for being friendly to prospective students, faculty and staff and many of us were attracted to Clemson because of this quality. The simple act of saying “hello” to each other and to each visitor has a remarkable multiplying effect that is very positive. If this is not your practice, try it; it can be a powerful force in our culture. We must continue to value this distinctive quality about Clemson.

There is one aspect of this quality that needs the attention of each one of us in the Clemson Family. When a visiting team comes to our campus in any sport we must see the team and its fans in the same way we see other visitors. These visitors honor us by choosing to come to Clemson, see our campus and spend time in getting to know the unique Clemson culture. They deserve our full respect and kindness. They are not our enemies; they are our guests.

When we are successful in letting these visitors (and all visitors) see the best of Clemson hospitality, they will see that Clemson is truly distinctive.

We cannot control how we are treated on other campuses we visit, but we can control how we treat all guests to our campus. (We want to be seen as “the best” in this important category.)

Any other path we choose will not honor Clemson traditions and character. In fact, any other path could devalue the concept of the Clemson Family.

Let me know your thoughts on these ideas.


James F. Barker, FAIA